By Phetoho Maja 

  • Dzunisani Rikhotso, a 30-year-old from Daveyton, Ekurhuleni, is optimistic about his future in the furniture-making business after receiving training at the Puisano Development Centre.
  • The centre, funded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD), provides skills development programmes, including carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing.
  • Rikhotso aims to start his own furniture business, support his family, and employ others, inspired by the opportunities and entrepreneurial knowledge gained at the centre.

Dzunisani Rikhotso, a 30-year-old from Daveyton in Ekurhuleni, is hopeful about thriving in the business of furniture making. This optimism stems from a training opportunity he received at the Puisano Development Centre, a non-profit organisation (NPO) funded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD). The centre offers various skills development programmes, including end-user computing, carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, agriculture, and a family helpdesk for referrals to drug rehabilitation services.

Speaking to the Weekly Bulletin, Rikhotso said, “I have been trying to get on my feet for a while now, and I am so inspired by the training offerings here at the Puisano Development Centre. I heard about this programme from a friend last year and decided to send my application to be a trainee in furniture making.” He added, “From a young age, I have always been passionate about starting a business. Through this programme, I will be able to start my furniture business, support my family, and employ other people. Being part of this programme was the best decision I have ever made. What inspires me more is that the centre invites other entrepreneurs to share knowledge about business.”

Rikhotso is determined to excel in both practical and theoretical aspects of the training. “I will work very hard to be a top student. This will enable me to receive a SETA-accredited NQF Level 2 National Certificate in Furniture Making and an award in the form of start-up equipment and material that is conferred to top students by the centre,” said the aspiring furniture maker.

Rikhotso praised the Gauteng Department of Social Development for providing him and many other young people with the opportunity to gain skills and avoid falling prey to social ills such as drugs and substance abuse. Sibongile Mabote, an adviser at Puisano Development Centre, emphasised their goal to expand and reach more young people in Ekurhuleni townships. “We want to reiterate that our services are free of charge and are funded by GDSD. We are currently training more than thirty young people from this area of Daveyton,” she said.

Puisano Development Centre is one of the organisations that signed interim Service Level Agreements (SLAs) following a commitment by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to repair and strengthen the sector. Seipati Tabudi, the centre manager, urged the community to utilise their family helpdesk to assist those battling drug addiction. “As we continue to observe Youth Month, we want to urge young people to refrain from drugs so that together we can fight the unemployment prevalent in our communities. We need the community to unite and fight against this demon because we believe that those trapped in drugs are the most brilliant and intelligent,” said Tabudi.

She concluded, “There was a lot of uncertainty around the survival of Gauteng NPOs at the beginning of the year, but we are happy that finally there is a green light. From now onwards, we will fix our mistakes and brainstorm new ideas because all of this should benefit the communities and people that we serve.”


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